the caucus race

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 14, 2007

Our bishops are doing a wonderful job in fighting sexual abuse. The National Review Board is leading the cheers.

Six million children enrolled in "safe touch" programs! Hooray! 1.6 million background checks on Church workers and employees! Rah! With the cheers ringing in your ears, you might be forgiven if you didn't hear every little sentence in the full NRB report. This sentence, for instance:

What the audits do not measure is the quality of the work that the dioceses and parishes are doing.

No, your eyes didn't deceive you. Go ahead. Read it again:

What the audits do not measure is the quality of the work that the dioceses and parishes are doing.

So then we're running very fast, and there's just this little wee problem that we don't know whether we're running in the right direction.

A great deal of activity has taken place since June 2002, when the US bishops met in Dallas to formulate a response to the sex-abuse crisis. What we don't know, five years later, is whether anything good has been accomplished.

Six million children have participated in "safe touch" programs? That would be good news, if we could say with confidence that these programs prevent abuse, or built up a healthy young psyche. But if the programs themselves are a form of abuse, that 6-million figure represents another tragedy for the Church in America.

The 1.6 million background checks have surely kept some dangerous adults away from contact with children, and that's a good thing. But the investigations have also needlessly insulted countless thousands of innocent people, and given the impression that the laity are now held under suspicion because of offenses committed by wayward clergy.

The audits prove that there is activity. Whether the activity is good or bad is another question. How can we find out?

The NRB suggests more audits.

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Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2007 1:42 AM ET USA

    Words, words, words, I am so sick of words. Show me says Eliza Doolittle.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 15, 2007 9:07 AM ET USA

    Do the bishops have to be fingerprinted?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 15, 2007 12:28 AM ET USA

    Shall we add insulted volunteers to a new "missing persons" list? Apparently, the only ones above suspicion are ipso facto those who recommend, require, or conduct background checks. I suggest more Christianity.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2007 7:41 PM ET USA

    What the Bishops have done MAY have some benefit...but it is mostly feel good stuff designed to protect THEM in the event of lawsuits. Their child focused program is, in some cases, teaching things to children which are contrary to Catholic doctrine. Teaching kids is a parental responsibility. Doing something about potentially abusive clergy, which the Bishops program is not very good at, is the Bishops' responsibility. They should meet their responsibility before taking on ours.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2007 7:22 PM ET USA

    For my parish and school ministries, I have to have a criminal background check every three years. Now if I, as a deacon, am ever arrested on abuse charges, don't you think that would make the newspaper? This is a money-grab by the vetting services.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2007 4:43 PM ET USA

    Enough is enough. When a seventy-two year old lady who has been singing in the choir for nearly twenty-five years, and the mom who has had kids in the parish school for several years and who wants to help out with the All Saints Day classroom parties, both have to get "background checks" in order to continue volunteering, it's proof to me that the whole thing is nuts.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2007 3:42 PM ET USA

    A committee must be formed to assess this!!!!!!